The More You Know: NIH Modular vs. Detailed Budgets

NIH uses two types of budget formats: the detailed or R&R budget and the modular budget. The format required depends on the total direct costs and the Funding Opportunity Announcement’s instructions. NIH uses a modular budget format for research applications requesting up to a total of $250,000 in direct costs per budget period. Modules are in increments of $25,000 and exclude consortium F&A costs. When determining how many modules to request, subtract any consortium F&A from the total direct costs for that period and then round to the nearest $25,000 increment. The modular budget justification should include the personnel justification and consortium justification. Additional justification should include explanations for any direct costs that were excluded from the direct cost category, such as equipment or tuition emission. The R&R budget is used in the majority of applications. This format is used when direct costs (less consortium F&A) are greater than $250,000 per budget period. The detailed budget justification must include a

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Resource Toolkit: Consortium Justification for Modular Budgets

Did you know that a consortium justification for a modular budget differs from that of a detailed budget? NIH outlines that the consortium justification should include an estimate of total costs (direct plus F&A) for each year rounded to the nearest $1,000. The justification should list all personnel and organizations included in the consortium, including names, effort (using person-months), and roles on the project. No individual salary information should be included. Each institution must be identified as either foreign or domestic. Please note that only the direct cost for a consortium/contractual arrangement is factored into modular budget eligibility; however, the total consortium/contractual costs must be included in the overall requested modular direct cost amount. This justification should be saved and attached as a PDF. OSP has created an example of a modular budget consortium justification here. For questions or concerns, please contact your OSP specialist.

Inflation Rate Increases and Modular Budgets

Please note that, according to NIH policy, the salary cap in place during the application year of a project with a modular budget remains for the life of the non-competing cycle/project period. The number of modules originally requested should then also remain the same, and any modular level variations must be explicitly justified by the applicant. Put simply NIH will not consider the inclusion of additional modules for the sole purpose of inflationary increases. Please reach out to your OSP specialist with any questions or concerns.

Modular Budgets and Consortium Justification

As a friendly reminder, any modular budgets that include a subcontract for an NIH award require a consortium justification, due to the lack of a full budget and the location of the consortium amount only at the very end of the modular budget. Please note that the consortium justification is structured a bit differently than a standard justification. For more information, please view the Subawards – Subrecipients page of the OSP website.